PPP leader’s hospital turns into five-star lodging for prisoners

By Naimat Khan

Former President Asif Ali Zardari conferring the award of Nishan-i-Imtiaz on Dr. Asim Hussain, former minister and Zardari’s partner in many projects recently detained by Rangers for massive corruption and part in the city’s crime economy

KARACHI: While both prisons of Karachi present a gloomy picture of tormented prisoners being jailed there, the well-off under trial prisoners and convicts, especially those having political backing, have found in a private hospital in the upper-class Clifton neighborhood a best and luxurious accommodation, sources in the health facility revealed to The Frontier Post.

Three VIP rooms at the third and fourth floor of the hospital, owned by a former PPP minister, were occupied by persons accused of huge corruption. However, the police took two of them, namely Moeen Shaikh and Javed on last Thursday evening, ending their prolonged and comfortable stay.

According to hospital sources Moeen Shaikh was using the room no-2006 at third floor for more than two years while Javed was being accommodated in room no 417 at fourth Floor. Though the exact date of his admission could not be known, a doctor in the facility told on the condition of anonymity that Javed was living there for several months.

The hospital record shows that Moeen Shaikh was advised for hospital observation by his consultant Dr Asif Farooqi, a senior physician in the hospital’s Clifton branch.

When this scribe contacted admission and discharge department of the hospital, the front desk staff on duty informed that daily charges of room no 2006 at third floor were Rs 9000 while the one at fourth floor could be acquired at Rs 10,000 per day. An estimate of his stay suggests that Shaikh might have paid from 8 to 10 million only as room charges to the facility.

Moeen Shaikh, sources said, was produced before the anti corruption court in Karachi on Friday, 27 September but it could not be known whether he was granted bail or sent to Jail on judicial custody. He, however, had not turned back to the hospital till Sunday evening.

Also read: Hospital owned by Zardari’s aide gets Rs500m grant

Adnan Zaman who was arrested for the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) payment of about Rs 60 Crore to fictitious and bogus exporters under the garb of 25 per cent freight subsidy, managed to get room no-2007 at third floor on 18 June 2013, just weeks after his arrest and is enjoying this facility for the last over hundred days despite serious graft charges.

The 54 years old Zaman was referred by his consultant Dr Faisal Memon of the said hospital. According to hospital’s statistics he had either paid to hospital or was liable to pay Rs 936,000 as room charges only till the filling of this report.

When The Frontier Post inquired about the average stay under medical observation an admission department official told that it was two to three days. He further told that there could be serious cases with prolong stay but their major chunk of time is spent in ICU.  The patient, gone in Coma is exception, he said.

Dr. Mirza Tasawar Baig, assistant professor and a spokesman for the Ziauddin Medical University insisted that patient could be retained for years in case of chronic diseases. He, however, showed his ignorance regarding the three cases in question, guessing there might be solid grounds to put the accused under medical observation for long time.

The Frontier Post tried to contact the concerned consultants but the phone number of both Dr Amir Farooqi and Dr Faisal Memon were switched off.

According to rule and procedures the jail authorities writes to home department, requesting for the transfer of under trial prisoner to hospital, informed senior lawyer advocate Gandapur, who further stated that the home department then refers him to one of  the services hospitals, which determines to which hospital he should be sent.

He further said that the concerned hospital is declared as sub-jail, guarded by jail police. When The Frontier Post contacted Sharfuddin Memon, consultant home to Chief Minister Sindh, who also holds the portfolio of home minister, he said he could speak on the subject on working day only and will share the record of under trial prisoners currently availing the facility.

This story was published in The Frontier Post on 30th September 2013 under the heading Influential inmates living comfortably in PPP ex-minister’s hospital. It is being reproduced for the interest of those who follow the Case of Dr Asim Hussain, the owner of this hospital.

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Author: Naimat

Karachi based journalist, writing on national and international issues.

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